A batting blitz from Strathfieldsaye skipper Ben Gunn last night led the Jets into the Bendigo District Cricket Association’s Twenty20 grand final.
Gunn scorched White Hills for 117 off just 56 balls in their semi-final.
In one of the most one-sided games in the five years of the BDCA’s Twenty20 competition, the Jets beat the Demons by 160 runs to advance to the grand final.
The Jets will meet Huntly-North Epsom in next Wednesday night’s grand final at the QEO after the Power were also comfortable semi-final winners last night, beating Bendigo United by nine wickets.
At Integrating Technology Oval, Strathfieldsaye made the most of the batsman-friendly conditions by amassing 3-224 off their 20 overs.
Gunn was at his scintillating best as the young Demons side was powerless to stop his batting onslaught.
Gunn’s 117 included 21 boundaries and two sixes in what was the second Twenty20 century scored by a BDCA player, following Michael Hill’s 119 for Bendigo last season.
While Gunn smashed the Demons’ bowlers, down the other end, veteran Greg Lyon’s outstanding form continued as he made 54 off 39 balls (five fours, one six).
Gunn and Lyon shared in an opening partnership of 159 before the Demons’ got their first wicket in the 15th over when Gunn was caught at long-on by Sam Stagg off White Hills captain Rhys Irwin (2-44).
“It was a quick outfield and a hard deck, so you couldn’t ask for much more out there,” Gunn said.
“It was good to bat through until the 15th over, but what was really good was the support from Lippy (Lyon).
“He is in really good form for us, so it was good he was able to get more runs again tonight.”
Cory Devanny (31 off 15) and Tim Wood (17 n.o. off 9) kept the runs ticking over for the Jets after the dismissals of the openers.
Needing to score at 11.2 runs per over to win, the Demons were routed for just 64 in reply.
However, it would have been much worse for the Demons if not for Daniel Larke.
Larke was the only White Hills batsman to make double figures, scoring 28 of their 64 runs.
The Demons’ score of 64 included losing their last five wickets for just nine runs, with Justin Hargreaves (3-15) the leading wicket-taker for the Jets.
“This was the best game I’ve been involved with since I’ve been at the club,” Gunn said.
“The batting was perfect and the bowling was perfect.
“We bowled one side of the wicket, took three really good catches and we had a run out, so it was the perfect game by the boys.
“Everything clicked tonight.”
Next week will be the third Twenty20 grand final Strathfieldsaye has played in, with the Jets hoping it will be a case of third time lucky.
The Jets lost the grand final to Strathdale-Maristians in 2010 and 2011.
● Having struggled in the Twenty20 format since its inception, Huntly-North Epsom will play in its first grand final.
The Power had won just one Twenty20 game before this season, and overcame a round one loss to White Hills in November to qualify for the semi-finals.
Coming up against the unbeaten Bendigo United at Harry Trott Oval last night, the Power chased down the Redbacks’ score of 6-137 with 13 balls to spare, answering with 1-141.
Brannon Stanford, Ryan Grundy and Brodie McRae did the damage with the bat for the Power.
Stanford batted through the innings, finishing unbeaten on 55 off 47 (six fours, two sixes).
Grundy was the only wicket to fall when he was run out by Pat Naughtin for 36 off 34 (four fours), while McRae faced just 25 balls in making 42 not out (four fours, three sixes).
Earlier, Bendigo United had been solidly placed at 1-58 in the ninth over after winning the toss.
However, a batting collapse in which the Redbacks lost 4-7 in three overs halted their innings.
Curtis Tuohey top-scored for the Redbacks with 45 not out off 32 (four fours, two sixes).
Opener Heath Behrens was the only other player to pass 20, scoring 28 off 16 balls, which included four sixes.
Behrens was dismissed by Braden Tuohey (2-18), who was the Power’s only multiple wicket-taker.